Movie Theater Caramel Corn

For the love of the Oscars, we’re celebrating the magic of the movies with movie theater caramel corn for our Academy Awards party.

We don’t go to the movies often. By the time we pay for 6 tickets, popcorn and beverages and a box of candy or two, well, let’s just say we could treat ourselves to a lot more than two hours in a theater with kids that often need to use the bathroom in the midst of an integral scene. It’s less than ideal.

Instead, we recreate movie night at home, using Netflix to bring the movies to our living room and our culinary skill to get fresh popcorn and drinks on demand from the kitchen.

My favorite thing about the actual theater, apart from a massive screen and surround sound, is the popcorn and the giant-sized box of candy. We don’t actually eat nor purchase a lot of candy around here, but our annual trip to the theater as a family is an exception. We decided to marry the popcorn and candy together for a real special treat: movie theater caramel corn.

Movie Theater Caramel Corn adapted from Joy of Baking
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 movie-sized boxes your favorite bite-sized candy (M&Ms, Nerds, Reese’s Pieces, Whoppers, Goobers, Raisinets, etc.)

Pop popcorn in air popper or over a stove top. Grease a large stainless steel bowl and place the popped popcorn inside. Line a large baking sheet or two with parchment and set aside.

In a medium to large saucepan mix together sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a cover on the pan and allow to boil for two minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, the soft ball stage. Stir in the two tablespoons of butter until melted.

Let the sugar continue to cook. When the mixture reaches 300 degrees F immediately stir in the salt and baking soda. The mixture will foam. Pour over popped popcorn and stir with wooden or heat resistant spoons, folding popcorn over and over until covered.

Spread the caramel corn over the baking sheets in a thin layer. Immediately sprinkle candy of choice over the caramel corn, pressing lightly to secure into the mix. Allow to cool completely. Break into chunks and serve.

Makes 12 cups caramel corn.

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